Is the Forest defeat the wake-up call Arsenal needed?

Mikel Arteta may have been “disappointed” with yesterday’s FA Cup defeat to Nottm Forest, but it has made one thing abundantly clear. Arteta may have assembled a great young team from his new arrivals and our academy graduates, but the fact is that our backup players are simply not good enough to cover for injuries and suspensions (and AFCON and Covid!)

Since our disastrous first three games, Arteta has hardly made any changes to his first XI except for when they were forced upon him, even playing most of our first team in “easy” League Cup fixtures.

But yesterday, other than swapping Leno for Ramsdale, Arteta had to make 5 changes from the game against Man City (well he could have started with Lacazette instead of Nketiah- I wonder if he regrets that now?) but it was painfully obvious that the dynamics of his team was fundamentally weakened incredibly.

But the Boss has been able to keep that continuity going in our excellent run of form because we had no European games to try out our reserves very often, but the obvious flipside to that benefit is that the likes of Soares, Holding, Nketiah and Lokonga (and to a lesser extent Tavares), have not been able to build up their match fitness to a high enough level to easily slot into Arteta’s tactical setup.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – JANUARY 09: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal looks dejected following defeat in the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Nottingham Forest and Arsenal at City Ground on January 09, 2022 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

This was clear yesterday as were lacking in cohesion with just a few regular absentees, and it is now obvious that there will be much more investment needed if we are going to really challenge for any top trophies next season, but we must be guaranteed European football first so we can keep everyone match fit and happy as well.

Arsenal fans now have very little to look forward to for the rest of the season. Two League Cup semi-finals against Liverpool could give us a slim hope of our one remaining trophy, but on yesterday’s performance could we even hope to come through unscathed? We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed on that one that Klopp decides to play his youth team, or we are going out…

The optimists among us may say that one big benefit is that Arteta should be able to field his strongest team in nearly every game in the race for the Top Four (after AFCON of course), and if we lose to Tottenham next week we could be in a very precarious position, but with most of other rivals distracted by Europe (not Spurs of course) we may be able to build up our consistency again.

But, to get back to the original point, we are still far from being the finished article squad-wise, and Arteta will have some serious pleading to do to get the Kroenkes to put their hands deep into their pockets again this summer, and even this month….

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Tags FA Cup Forest Top Four


  1. Its been about ten years of “wake up calls”
    How about signing players that are good enough to play for the club?

    1. LOL good call.
      In truth though im glad it happened as even tho we look better this season its still not near good enough for our club.

  2. Definitely a lot wake up call.
    We all know we lack squad depth, and we were always worried that someday it’ll backfire.
    That doesn’t excuse that performance though. It was awful.

    Athletic’s new column today says Arteta has been pushing for new signings to come through even before the game yesterday. Though himself and Edu are being careful about short stop gap deals seeing how it’s failed in the past.

    Personally, the game yesterday might point that we need to boost our midfield, I just hope we don’t lose sight of the big picture.
    What we need the most now is getting in a striker who can do the job.
    It’ll be more important to our hint for top four believe me.
    Within a couple of weeks, we could have our midfield back, and having a striker who can do the job would be the biggest boost we need to make top four.
    A striker for me still remains a priority.
    Bing in an experience midfielder like GW on loan. That should do it

    1. Nope this is no wake up call.
      This FA Cup loss will be forgotten by tomorrow.
      Top six in the League has been the goal all season and we are on track to do that.
      The domestic cups are essentially a joke. Our first 4 Carabao cup games were against pitifully weak opponents and three of those games were at home. The prize for winning the Carabao cup is 40k less than what Pepe gets paid every week!!! And no qualifying for Europe via the cups is not good it’s silly. We have Spurs away (draw) then Burnley at home (win) then the AFCON players will be back (or even sooner) if their teams are knocked out early so we will then go on another long winning run.
      BTW. We actually don’t “need” any more players.
      Pepe +Elneny have been rarely used while Gabriel and Partey will only miss the Spurs and may be the Burnley game so only one (Spurs) important game. Holding is just fine and Xhaka will be back next game so calls for new players are actually ridiculous.

      1. If you take the cup as a joke then I doubt you know what it is to be a sportsman bro.
        You constantly say top 6 is the target this season. That’s unbelievably low.
        If we can get any trophy then that’s good and great. If we can get top 6, that’s okay. If we can get top 4, then that’s great too.
        Players and managers don’t go after trophies because of the monetary terms. It’s all about the prestige, and honour that comes with it.
        If every fan, footballer, manager and owners think like you then I doubt football clubs would be interested in these competition.
        Arsenal can choose to pull out, City can choose to pull out of it.
        There are players who earn more than the worth of the world cup per year.
        There are players whose salaries are way higher than the price of the AFCON.
        Yet these guys, they do everything to make sure the get called up and they want to participate and win.
        Stop looking at monetary value when it comes to trophies.

        We do need a quality striker and another midfielder on loan.
        Have you seen the teams competing for the top 6?
        Our Target was always top 6 but now I can guarantee it’s been shifted to top 4 as it shows in the fact that the club is ready to take advantage of the slump of others by giving us a quality striker this month when they ca wait till the summer.
        Have you read about Arsenal constantly pushing for Vlahovic and being in the best position?
        The club clearly saw there is a chance to solidify top four this season.
        Top four has become my personal target too, and if this squad secures top four, NO THEY WONT BE OVERACHIEVING!!
        They worked for it and put all their swear and blood to make it, it’s a young squad and anyone who tags them overachievers if they make top four will certainly be delusional and probably an hater.
        What this team need is the drive to go on and the support to go on till the end.
        Stop rubbishing these league cups.

        1. Eddie we all see things slightly differently.
          I know a month ago you wrote that you had given up geting upset about football results and were going to just take it as it comes so I am surprised you are upset with our loss to Forest considering the circumstances. That’s why I set a top 6 anything else is a bonus expectation last summer. So I am not on a roller coaster other fans are on. I used to like the FA Cup in the 1970’s. But the competition has faded as European competitions have expanded. For me personally the last FA Cup I thought was exciting was the Spurs v Man City replay in 1981. The myth that small teams upset in the FA Cup is just that. Sunderland in 1973 and Southampton in 1976 are the last real FA Cup upsets. Premier League teams dominate the Cups. Nobody expected top 4 when we went 0-3. So many fans have conveniently forgotten that. ​I hoped for 5/6 which was way ahead of any one else at the time. Yet the same people who wrote Arsenal off at 0-3 are now “demanding” top 4. This is massive hypocrisy. Talk about flip flops. Spurs started the season 3-0 and their fans were inscribing their name on the trophy. Then they sacked their manager. United started with a hiss and a roar and were Champions elect now they have a new manager and are struggling to make top 4. Westham want top 4 but won’t get it. Chelsea was going to win the title now their “fans” have given up on a title push and some even want a new manager already. Liverpool were Champios again now their fans have given up on the title. Fans have such unrealistic expectations. Arsenal have decided on a long term project. Realistic step by step. Thats why top 6 back into Europe and then a push for top 4 next season will be enough for the Arsenal management to retain Arteta. If we achieve top 4 this term well and good but it is not neccessary but a bonus option. After 0-3 and bottom of the league. I believe top 6 is over achieving. But we should be able to agree to disagree. Cheers.

          1. You seem to mistake my thoughts about the cup ase being upset.
            I’m in no way upset about the loss.
            It was disappointing and terrible, but it’s gone. I don’t care about the game anymore as it’s gone.
            I’m focused on us achieving top four, so I’m still not gonna be losing myself overa any game this season

      2. Honestly @fairfan, are you having a lend of us. Or are you just flogging yourself with Mrs Palmer and her five daughters ✋🤔🙈

      3. FF you are so far removed in your thinking from EVERY other TRUE Gooner as to make us seriously sceptical if you are saying such nonsensical things deliberately for personal notoriety OR perhaps you are just an irrational and disordered in thinking person.

        I am not sure which of these alternatives is the real you. But you are certainly NOT a normal fan IMO.

        To say the CUP will be forgotten by tomorrow is either stupid beyond belief OR ELSE a flat and deliberate lie. I only wish I KNOW WHICH IT WAS .

        But it is plainly one OR the other .”We dont “need”any more players”, is profoundly and obviously wrong!

        No other explanation for your oddness makes any sense. I had even wondered whether you were a troll, albeit a poor acting one. But I DISCOUNTED THAT THEORY.

  3. Yes it is indeed. Arsenal must be ruthless, ambitious ,forward thinking and decisive in this transfer window. There are too many dead woods and fringe players like Kolasinac, Soares, Mari, Chambers, Holding, Nketiah, Elneny, Torriera, Guendouzi and Aubameyang that Arsenal must sell now and replace them with better quality players. They are just not good enough,and must get rid of them, no matter, even it means accepting bids lower than their current transfer market value. Arsenal must strengthen the team and buy a quality Striker, defensive midfielder, a central midfielder and a right back this transfer window . GET rid of these 10 players above and buy 4 quality players. Arsenal must focus on quality not useless quantity.

  4. Holding and Nketiah have not got a clue, just not good enough. We should have had a ‘NEW’ midfield player already……negligence. We NEED a midfield player and striker….YESTERDAY not tomorrow. 4th place without a new midfield player or striker whilst we are at AFCON…..delusional. At the moment for a top team our midfield is comical.

  5. I’m gutted about the result, I really am, as an Arsenal fan I love the FA Cup

    But it is just one game, we were poor but it was just one game, a game affected by circumstances like the opening League game against Brentford

    Easy to blame our fringe squad players who haven’t played much competitive football this season but you win as a team and lose as a team and as a team we were pretty awful throughout the game

    It was a starting 11 who probably have never played together in a competitive match but unfortunately they played like a bunch of players who had never even met each other, I genuinely lost count of the number of times we gave the ball away, that included guys who have played regularly in our good league performances this season

    If you look at our season we are not as good a team away from home which didn’t help, that’s what I would prefer Arteta to focus on for the remainder of this season rather than getting rid of certain players or buying new in January, this current squad is good enough for us to have a good end to the season, we should not give up on all of our current ambitions just because of yesterday, that would be ridiculous

    All of the guys in the squad, plus the Manager need our support right now, they are getting it from me

    1. I love the FA Cup too. So much history and lovely memories. Great competition. And want to stay ahead of Man Utd in total FA Cups won so I was gutted too

  6. Definitely. Our young DM has made two fatal mistakes in his limited appearances, so we obviously need to replace him with a more experienced and faster one

    I could understand if he started in 10+ games like Xhaka or made risky moves/ passes like Partey, but that wasn’t the case. The other one is simply too similar to Wilshere, Odegaard, Ozil and Hutchinson, therefore he can’t play in deep midfield area

    There are several experienced DMs with expiring contracts in the market, so we might be able to buy one with a discounted price

    1. Yes Gai I agree with you. There are good and experienced DM that we can buy and won’t cost much. And the early the better. January matches can determine a lot where Arsenal would finish the season. If Xhaka picks a lingering injury we shall be light in DM area in the absence of Pathey. Chambers and White may not fill in successfully. Creativity
      and dynamism would be lacking. Board and Arteta should act fast or otherwise loan a player..

      1. Denis Zakaria’s and Franck Kessie’s contracts are expiring. I think Marc Roca is also available for loan

  7. No professional soccer team or player should need a wake up call, regardless of the opposition they should try and play to their full capabilities every game, if they can’t do that then they are not worth a place in the team or it’s down to Arteta and his coaching staff to make sure that every player is up for every game. Are we saying that because we have had a few decent performances we can then relax when playing supposedly weaker opposition, I don’t think so, that is the time when you do need to be up for it and fully concentrating.

  8. The manager picks the team, plays the squad and set out the tactics. I dont get the articles insinuation, Arteta is responsible for the team and the way we play. We lost to a team not in our league and the team we put out still had a value at least 10 X higher than Forests. Our resources are far far greater than theirs. Nearly all our players would be on far far higher wages than theirs. Our manager will be on 10 X their managers as well.

  9. Arteta is to blame for all this. The squad is not good enough and has a lot of players who don’t play with passion. Had we been playing with Torreira and Guendouzi it would have been different. Most of the players Arteta has bought are not better than the ones he is replacing. The team has not improved at all under him. We could have bought Maddison and Bissouma only and the team would have improved massively. White is not better than Saliba and Holding, Ramsdale is not better than Leno he is just over dramatic, Lokonga is not better than Torreira or Guendouzi. Cedric is just as bad if not worse than Bellerin yet he is older. Tomiyasu is good but not that special. Contrary to what people saying we played a strong team as we were only missing a few players which is common during the course of the season.

    Either Arteta improves the team or he must go.

  10. 10 times better.., and exciting to watch making saves..,his record of saves and ball handling far outway this young English chap struggling to make an impression.

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